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» hungary

Hungarian Hot 10

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Articles, Blog, Travel | Leave a comment

I’ve survived Sziget. There’s a lot I can (and will!) tell and show from Europe’s craziest festival, that took place a week ago in Budapest, but for now – here’s my ‘official’ report: a list of great Hungarian artists I’ve seen at the festival.

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From gypsies to drum’n’bass-loving rockers, Sziget festival gave us a great idea on what Hungarian music sounds like today. One of Europe’s biggest festivals is over and we’re still recovering from the all partying, palinka drinking and culture-absorbing. The line-up was truly crazy and monstrous: from Major Lazer to Limp Bizkit, from Ellie Goulding to Robbie Williams, to just to name a few. Luckily, we also managed to explore the local scene and discover 10 Hungarian acts you need to hear right now.

Irie Maffia

No wonder this gigantic band was getting a VIP treatment at the festival: they got to perform at the main stage on the opening day and also recorded Sziget 2015’s catchy anthem called ‘Easy As One Two Three’. The band is fronted by Ghana-based singer Sena Dagadu (who has a big smile and an ever bigger voice) and two rappers, MC Colombo and Papa Diamont. Irie Maffia is famous for its spectacular performances and a wide arrange of genres they toy with – from dancehall and reggae to rock and funk. And they do make it all look easy as one two three.

Brains

Proving that Hungarians are great with multitasking, Irie Maffia’s MC Colombo is also fronting this drum’n’bass/rock band. Brains’ formed over 20 years ago, survived multiple line-up changes and experimented with their sound quite a bit, until finally settling down for a bombastic mix of radio-friendly mixture of drum and rock. After seeing their take-no-prisoners gig at Sziget and hearing their hit ‘Budapest Tours’ all we want to know is where do we sign up for such tour?

Anna and the Barbies

How come Lady Gaga and Die Antwoord’s Yolandi never told us they have a mutual older sister named Anna hidden in Hungary?! Anna Pasztor, the leader of Anna and the Barbies, came to stage all ready to shock and rock: with grotesque black-and-white makeup covering her face, in a long red coat and tall red hat, not unlike the ones you’d see at a magic show. Band’s gig featured dancers covered in gold bodypaint and lots of stadium-ready rock tunes – think Guillermo del Toro directing a Barbie commercial.

Ivan and the Parazol

“Let’s get fucking mental” – is always a nice way to kick off your show. In Ivan Viraris’ mind ‘going mental’ means playing with all kinds of 60s and 70s rock influences while holding a shaker and waving his hippie hairdo to the comforting sounds of vintage guitars. The standout track had a perfect flower power title ‘Whatever’ and featured enough ‘woo-hoos’ and clapping sounds to ship us back to the pre-Internet era.

Romengo

These days Romani people (the largest minority in Hungary) face a lot of problems in the country, but luckily all the political and social issues were left far behind when this virtuosic band stepped on the stage. The band’s official tagline is ‘Gypsy music from Hungary’ which pretty much gives you an idea of what to expect from the Monika Lakatos-fronted collective: they’re loud, soulful and mystic.

Mary Popkids

Self-proclaimed ‘indie band from the future’ brought a special acoustic set to the festival. Listing tons of artists from Kanye West to The XX as their influences, the band never shied away from experimenting with their sound, which seems to be an ongoing trend in Hungarian music, doesn’t it? As for the future, it does seem bright for the ambitious band: they have a packed live schedule up until the end of the year.

Middlemist Red

This psych-rock band borrowed its name from the world’s rarest camellia and their career has been blooming since 2012. Think catchy hooks, striking music videos and vocalist Soma Nóvé’s trademark black hat. Check out these guys if you need an additional 70s-rock fix after the new Tame Impala record.

Zanzinger

Tired of Hozier’s religious ballads by now? Then this bearded Hungarian is right up your alley. Zanzinger is a stage name of Daniel Micsoda, who cites Bob Dylan as his main inspiration and says he plays ‘the sort of folk music that takes place in the present and tells how we feel’. With song titles like ‘It’s Raining In My Lungs’, Zanzinger obviously feels quite bluesy most of the times.

Supernem

This foursome has been rocking around for a while now: the rock band was formed back in 2001 and cemented its place in Hungarian rock hall of fame with their easy-going attitude and a string of anthems. And although they sing in Hungarian, you can still enjoy the music: their mix of punk, rock and garage rock will surely get you jumping up and down.

Punnany Massif

This veteran hip-hop band was formed in 2003 and has 10 existing members and 5 past ones: apparently, that’s how many people you need to create the band’s ‘social funk’ sound, filled with stories about the lives of ‘the real Hungarians’. So if you want to learn more about Hungary, visit band’s show after you climbed to the top of Budapest’s central basilica and had a healthy dose of palinka.